All Parish Bulletin

Spiritual Discipline

Prayer can be a difficult discipline and practice for us in the craziness of life. One of my favorite things to do is to meditate on and pray through scripture. A helpful structure for this practice is Lectio Divina. Lectio Divina is a traditional monastic discipline that approaches God’s Word not simply as a textbook, but as His living and active scripture that continues to work in us to this day. Feel free to engage the following prompts on your own or in community.

For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

~Ephesians 3:14-19

1st Reading //Simply read the passage out loud slowly and intentionally. Take a minute or two to pause and soak in the verses.


2nd Reading //Read the passage out loud and listen for a word or a phrase that the Holy Spirit is highlighting for you. Write down what stood out.


3rd Reading //Read the passage out loud again, and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal His intention for you personally around what stood out. I encourage you to also write that down and put it into practice this next week.

I hope this is a simple and helpful way for you to grow in your passion for God, compassion for others, and wisdom in your day to day practices. 
See you Sunday!

Mike DeFrees. The Park Midtown Parish Pastor


October Upcoming Events

20th // Starting Point

27th // Missional Partner Sunday


New App Launched

The Park recently launched its new app. This app serves as a means of equipping the church to do the works of ministry through providing information and teaching. This app has all the latest upcoming invitation sign ups. To download the new app you can click here.

Trauma Informed Care | October 20, 12-2p

Please Join us for a training in partnership with South Texas Alliance for Orphans. This training is a trauma basics training that teaches the reasons behind misbehavior in kids from hard places. The training also includes some practical tools for caregivers/teachers to use in their classrooms. Lunch will be provided. Childcare reimbursement is also available. Sign up here.

Men’s Prayer

Men’s Prayer takes place in Midtown and MacTerrace every 3rd Friday evening of the month at 8 pm and in Oak Meadow on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 8pm. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To sign up to be contacted by a parish pastor with details and reminders you can click here.

Starting Point

Starting Point is a Sunday afternoon workshop where you will learn more about the Park’s story, core values, and vision. You will not only engage the Park’s journey during this time, but also how these same values have impacted and shaped your life in Christ. This is an All Parish event which simply means that individuals from each of our network’s church expressions will be in attendance which is meant to reinforce our overall mission to join God in the renewal of the city. Join us October 20th 1-3 PM at the Impact Guild for Starting Point. To sign up you can click here.

Spiritual Discipline

Discipline is essential to spiritual growth. I think too many times I throw my hands in the air and say “God will move my heart and change me” but I do little to initiate that. And yet James 4:8 states “draw near to God and he will draw near to you.” We have some responsibility of staying disciplined and waiting upon the Lord. This may look like a daily reading of scripture, a time of prayer, or simply giving thanks for all He has done. Whatever your spiritual disciplines are; they are essential to spiritual maturity.

On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness, for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

~1 Timothy 4: 7-8

This week I have dedicated myself to a rhythm of confession. God has shown me several ways in my life that I repeatedly choose friends, family, or ministry over Him. I will be confessing that I don’t love God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind. I will sit every day at His feet praying that He will draw near to me and change my heart. I want to encourage you to create or continue in a spiritual discipline this week. With a consistent frequency and desire to draw near to God, God promises that He will draw near to you. Could we ask for anything better than that?

Nick Smith, Pastoral Resident


October Upcoming Events

20th // Starting Point

27th // Missional Partner Sunday


New App Launched

The Park recently launched its new app. This app serves as a means of equipping the church to do the works of ministry through providing information and teaching. This app has all the latest upcoming invitation sign ups. To download the new app you can click here.

Men’s Prayer

Men’s Prayer takes place in Midtown and MacTerrace every 3rd Friday evening of the month at 8 pm and in Oak Meadow on the 3rd Thursday of the month at 8pm. These are parish specific prayer meetings. To sign up to be contacted by a parish pastor with details and reminders you can click here.

Starting Point

Starting Point is a Sunday afternoon workshop where you will learn more about the Park’s story, core values, and vision. You will not only engage the Park’s journey during this time, but also how these same values have impacted and shaped your life in Christ. This is an All Parish event which simply means that individuals from each of our network’s church expressions will be in attendance which is meant to reinforce our overall mission to join God in the renewal of the city. Join us October 20th 1-3 PM at the Impact Guild for Starting Point. To sign up you can click here.

Following After Him

Our lives are defined by the passage of time. We are born, we live, we die. We’re created for the kind of movement that time allows and God calls to us to come, follow me, on to the next thing. He called Moses and the people of Israel to come with Him, to leave Egypt and all that slavery destroyed in their lives. They had to leave everything behind and this was hard for them, so, let’s make a golden calf and worship it because that’s what we’ve known all our lives! But He didn’t stop calling them and He doesn’t stop calling us. Ask yourself, when have I taken my eyes off Him and how far have I fallen away from Him? Instead, let us keep our eyes on Him, following hard after Him through whatever comes and always walking next to, running with Him, to the next thing.


Upcoming Events

September 29th // Kids Dedication Class

October 1st // National Night Out

October 2nd // School of Theology Begins


School of Theology

This Sunday is the last day to register for School of Theology. This 5 week event will be held every Wednesday night in October at Aggie Park. This year we will focus on Dan White’s book, Love Over Fear. Each week will consist of both teaching and small group discussion. There are two registration options: $15 which includes only the book and materials or $40 which includes dinner each week as well as the book and materials. Childcare reimbursement is available, contact Terri Pease at terri@theparksa.org for more info. To register you can click here


National Night Out

Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities for an annual community-building campaign. The Park wants to come along side this national event to help foster better relationships with in our communities. At the core of being a disciple of Jesus is neighbor love. The Park encourages everyone to either host or participate in National Night Out with their neighborhood or Parish’s National Night Out next Tuesday. To find out more about parish National Night Out events, check out the Connection area this Sunday. Want to host a National Night Out event in your neighborhood? Email Terri Pease at terri@theparksa.org for more information on The Park’s National Night Out reimbursement.

Ministry of Encouragement

Our words matter. James wrote that the tongue was this crazy force in the world that could bring both blessing and cursing. Now, I am not a name it and claim it guy, however, as followers of Jesus we have the opportunity to speak truth in love to others, truth to power, and truth to ourselves. I don’t think we consider enough the power that we have in our words.

There is a ministry of encouragement that seems lost to us in our present day. More critically, this lost art of encouragement has become disconnected to the positive impact it can have on our journey of faith by combatting unbelief. The writer to the Hebrews said this in chapter 3, verses 12-13:

“12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

Did you catch that? Words of encouragement are a tool that bolsters our faith and keeps us on mission. If you are battling unbelief today, let me encourage you: God loves you fully and completely. You are His child and His eyes are always on you and His ears are always attentive to your voice. May you be encouraged and offer encouragement to someone this week.

Chris Nikkel, MacTerrace Parish Pastor


5th Sunday Serving

Each week The Park has numerous people who serve once a month in Family Ministry, Operations, Media and Connections. On 5th Sundays we ask the same people to serve a second time in the month, making these Sundays the most difficult to try and fill all of the needed areas to make things run smoothly. If you are not currently serving, we are asking you to consider jumping in next Sunday, September 29th, to help make sure we have all areas of need filled. Let’s rally together next weekend Park family! You’ll meet new people and get a behind the scenes look of all the things that go in to making a Sunday run. If you would like to serve you can click here. You will be contacted this week with more information.


Upcoming Events

September 29th // Kids Dedication Class

October 1st // National Night Out

October 2nd // School of Theology Begins


School of Theology

School of Theology is a 5 week event held every Wednesday night in October at Aggie Park. This year we will focus on Dan White’s book, Love Over Fear. Each week will consist of both teaching and small group discussion. There are two registration options: $15 which includes only the book and materials or $40 which includes dinner each week as well as the book and materials. To register you can click here


National Night Out

Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities for an annual community-building campaign. The Park wants to come along side this national event to help foster better relationships with in our communities. At the core of being a disciple of Jesus is neighbor love. The Park wants to encourage everyone to either host or participate in National Night Out with their neighborhood or Parish’s National Night Out on October 1. To find out more about parish National Night Out events, check out the Connection area this Sunday. Want to host a National Night Out event in your neighborhood? Email Terri Pease at terri@theparksa.org for more information on The Park’s National Night Out reimbursement.

Abiding in the Presence of God

Prayer is central to the life of the believer. Jesus teaches us to pray, models what a life of prayer looks like, and invites us today to engage in prayer as a way of existing. Paul challenges the church in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing. What?! How is this possible?

In a world of notifications, overbooked calendars, never-ending to do lists, etc., making time to pray seems more and more difficult by the day. Jesus is routinely waking up before sunrise to spend time in the presence of the Father. I believe starting from that place, the first-fruits of our time, is a great way to get our minds and hearts in a position to pray throughout the day. 

My excuses for not waking up early to abide in the presence of God often consist of, “I need sleep; Nothing really happens when I abide; I’ll carve out time later in the day to do it.” While some of these reasons are valid, I find that I often don’t get into the groove of prayer and am unable to see where God is active in and around me. Speaking personally, I view my refusal to spend time with God alone to start my day as an act of quenching the Spirit. I don’t want you to hear this as prescriptive or legalistic, but as an invitation to participate fully in the abundant life God intends for you.

I would challenge you this next week to try this a few times. Wake up early, grab some coffee and pray. This can take shape in a variety of ways. Here are some best practices I have found: 

  • Prayer Journal: write out the things you want to say to God and listen for His response. Test what you feel He is saying against Scripture and write it down so you can refer back to it throughout the day. Another helpful tool is to follow these four movements in prayer journalling: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication. For more of a guide, click here: Need link to Friday morning prayer bulletin
  • Scripture: read a passage of scripture and pray it to God. Meditate on its truth throughout the day. The above passage is a good starting point, “Spirit, I desire to rejoice always. I am in a season of sadness and frustration. Would you replace it with your joy today?” 
  • Worship Music: turn on music that is worshipping God and join in. Reflect on the truth of the words and pray them to God, over your life or others that God places on your heart. King of My Heart by John Mark McMillan is a great song for this practice. Click here to listen.

My hope is that we would be a people that are abiding in the presence of Christ on a personal level, so that we might be able to discern His heart for us and those around us. When we pray, God listens and responds. We would also love to pray for you this week! Send us an email, or fill out a prayer card at any of our parishes this Sunday. 

Mike DeFrees, Midtown Parish Pastor


Upcoming Events

September 29th // Kids Dedication Class

October 1st // National Night Out

October 2nd // School of Theology Begins


School of Theology

School of Theology is a 5 week event held every Wednesday night in October at Aggie Park. This year we will focus on Dan White’s book, Love Over Fear. Each week will consist of both teaching and small group discussion. There are two registration options: $15 which includes only the book and materials or $40 which includes dinner each week as well as the book and materials. To register you can click here


Kids Dedication

The Park Kids Dedication service is about a commitment to put God first in your home and to trust in Him as your source of direction as you lead your family and parent your child. It is also a time to share with your closest friends, family and church community what is most important to you and to ask them for their prayer and support. Our next dedication service will be October 13th during the Sunday morning service. There is a required class prior to the service on September 29th 2-3:30 PM at the Impact Guild. If you would like to dedicate your child, or would like more information, click here.

Frequency = Formation

This past week I posted a short note on facebook about rainy days & holidays being the hardest days for church leaders.  My note continued something like this, “It is right and proper for everyone to enjoy vacations and holidays, but when you are gone realize the work of the setting up, sermon prep, music rehearsal still happens.” I received several messages, private and public as well as a good number of likes.  A few pastors even posted, “amen!” I’d like to extend on my facebook post with two thoughts. 

  1. My heart is not to bolster church attendance, but to say to each person in my community that you can not have spiritual formation without frequency.  Further, whatever you frequent will form you. I just finished watching the BBC Sherlock Series, Wow! It’s incredible, but because of the binge mode pacing I started looking at the world in a different way.  Sherlock formed something in me. Was it good? I’m not sure. In the same way when we frequent prayer, worship attendance, scripture study, and smaller groups for accountability they form us. While I am not sure about Sherlock, I know for certain those sacred rhythms will form us into the likeness of Christ. For those of you I have the great privilege of serving as your pastor please hear me, I desperately want you to be formed into the likeness of Christ. What you do and don’t do matters to me. 
  2. A strange thing happened after that post.  A few of you started to message me with words of encouragement.  A few of you gave me a heads up you will be out of town or that you are attending something else during the service time.  At first I felt strange about that and insisted there was no need to actually tell me what’s pulled you away. But the more I thought about it, I think that’s exactly what we should do.  Church is family, it requires encouragement and checking in. The more we are willing to share about one another the easier it is to pray. 

I’m not much for working out your feelings on Facebook, but this one instance spurred a number of interesting conversations.  Church attendance isn’t the most critical thing… but friends you need to have consistent rhythms for spiritual formation. Here’s a great article on spiritual formation by one of my heroes, Dallas Willard.  See you Sunday! 

Scott Austin

Upcoming Events

  • September 14th // Dinner for 8
  • September 29th // Kids Dedication Class
  • October 1st // National Night Out

Dinner for 8

There’s still time to register for a dinner group! These dinners are hosted in homes and happen a couple of times a year. They are critical to our parish life as they model hospitality. We invite everyone to attend for great food, conversation and overall connection to other people in our church. Dinner for 8 is Saturday, September 14th at 7 PM. To register for a dinner group you can click here.

School of Theology

School of Theology is a 5 week event held every Wednesday night in October at Aggie Park. This year we will focus on Dan White’s book, Love Over Fear. Each week will consist of both teaching and small group discussion. There are two registration options: $15 which includes only the book and materials or $40 which includes dinner each week as well as the book and materials. To register you can click here

The Exodus: Part II

Exodus 11:1 – 12:51

God supernaturally delivers His people out of Egypt and institutes Passover for the Israelite people. This ordinance serves as a reminder of God’s deliverance but embedded in the detailed instructions for proper observance projects a picture of what would ultimately be accomplished through the coming Messiah. Every step of this journey, God has been the pursuer. How should we respond? How does this apply to us?

God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. If He pursued His people thousands of years ago, then He still pursues today. Our response should be an eagerness to follow.

Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart for what breaks yours

These words are pulled from a decade-old song proclaiming the arrival of the Deliverer, Messiah, and Savior, and pleading for the ability to be like Him. This prayer requires two things of those who genuinely desire to become like Jesus: an intimate knowledge of God and an empathy for others.

Only a daily, personal relationship with that Messiah will allow us to truly know what grieves Him. Rhythms of regular study of the Bible and listening for the guidance of the Spirit open our hearts to His guidance. An effort to constantly be in an attitude of prayer not only completes a successful communication loop, but also promotes a healthy posture before God.

In our interactions with the world around us, it can be easy to think ourselves wise. How often do we consider that almost every person on the planet comes from a distinctly different set of circumstances than that of our own? How can we truly love a person that God has created (and knows everything about) if we are not willing to understand that person intimately? Let us earnestly desire to love our neighbors, our city, and our world by seeking to sincerely know them.


Upcoming Events

  • September 14th // Dinner for 8
  • September 29th // Kids Dedication Class
  • October 1st // National Night Out

Dinner for 8

There’s still time to register for a dinner group! These dinners are hosted in homes and happen a couple of times a year. They are critical to our parish life as they model hospitality. We invite everyone to attend for great food, conversation and overall connection to other people in our church. Dinner for 8 is Saturday, September 14th at 7 PM. To register for a dinner group you can click here.


School of Theology

School of Theology is a 5 week event held every Wednesday night in October at Aggie Park. This year we will focus on Dan White’s book, Love Over Fear. Each week will consist of both teaching and small group discussion. There are two registration options: $15 which includes only the book and materials or $40 which includes dinner each week as well as the book and materials. To register you can click here

Sign up to receive email bulletin each Friday.

Subscribe

* indicates required